Headlines: March 19th, 2007

CALL FOR MORE JOINED-UP E-GOVERNMENT

 

The current lack of a joined up approach to e-Government will result in its failure, according to those involved with e-Government projects. This was the main finding from a series of consultation forums for local government representatives, managers, independent consultants and public sector employees arranged by Brunel University in partnership with the Chartered Institute of Public Finance.

Co-ordination between local and central government needs to be addressed if e-Government is going to successfully engage local communities. A lack of integration will result in real differences in the standards of online services across Government departments, from paying car tax online to library services. Citizens and public sector employees have high expectations based on experiences as consumers and they will not engage if services are inconsistent. The cost of failure will be a more expensive and inefficient public sector.

The five in-depth workshops were held to capture the experiences of those involved in e-Government initiatives and to identify and prioritise research issues on e-Government implementations. Discussions helped to identify funding priorities for policy makers. The findings will be used to set the national e-Government research agenda until 2011 by developing an integrated roadmap for future e-Government implementations.

Other findings from the workshops include the need to view E-Government as an ongoing cohesive activity and not a collection of isolated projects and that it is not enough to provide money and technology, there must also be a greater understanding of factors that affect participation from citizens and stakeholders.

There is also a fundamental need to understand how to create flexible systems that can adapt and change with demand, and corresponding methods of evaluation. Constant change is a natural occurrence in twenty first century government and it impacts people, processes and systems in equal measure.